NAB and ETC to Present Virtual Reality Summit in Las Vegas

NAB and the Entertainment Technology Center at USC are coproducing a Virtual Reality Summit at the annual NAB Show on Wednesday, April 20, from 1:00-5:00 pm at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The half-day summit will address key concepts and lessons learned regarding VR production. Hands-on practitioners will discuss the technical and business aspects of producing content in this emerging marketplace, which some consider to be a new media type and art form. You can register for the Virtual Reality Summit and learn more about the NAB conference at the event’s website. Continue reading NAB and ETC to Present Virtual Reality Summit in Las Vegas

Microsoft Pushes Windows 10, Promotes Bots to Replace Apps

Microsoft is on track to reach the goal it set when it first introduced Windows 10 last July: to reach one billion devices within two or three years. Less than a year later, Windows 10, the latest version of its operating system, is running on 270 million active devices, adopted faster than even Windows 7, its previous high point. Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella is pinning future hopes on artificial intelligence and “bots” to create new ways to interact with computers, and replace apps as the dominant paradigm. Continue reading Microsoft Pushes Windows 10, Promotes Bots to Replace Apps

Nokia Reimagines Hardware with OZO Virtual Reality Camera

Nokia just debuted OZO, its $60,000 virtual reality camera and the first hardware product the company has made since it sold its mobile phone business to Microsoft in 2014. OZO was productized by Dolby Laboratories veteran Ramzi Haidamus, hired by Nokia in July 2014 to figure out the future of its hardware division. When Haidamus saw an early prototype of the virtual reality camera, he says, he was sold on the idea of developing it. He declined to say how many OZOs Nokia has sold thus far. Continue reading Nokia Reimagines Hardware with OZO Virtual Reality Camera

Telecoms and Silicon Valley Engage at Mobile World Congress

European telecoms and Silicon Valley giants are jousting again, at the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The major carriers, including Deutsche Telekom AG and Spain’s Telefónica SA are pushing for the European Union to either lift some of the regulations imposed on them or apply similar rules to Internet-based text and voice services, such as Facebook’s WhatsApp or Google Hangouts. At the same time, several telecoms have signed on to Facebook’s TIP project, an open source initiative to design cellular towers. Continue reading Telecoms and Silicon Valley Engage at Mobile World Congress

HPA Tech Retreat: VR Experts Talk Cameras, Workflow, Markets

Virtual reality was the focus of a panel I moderated at the HPA Tech Retreat, which included Phil Lelyveld, who runs the VR/AR initiative at ETC; Stuart English, head of worldwide sales for presence capture at Nokia Technologies; and Steve Schklair, producer, cinematographer and chief executive of 3ality/Technica. Lelyveld described the emerging virtual reality space, first noting the increasing number of VR cameras, from the consumer level (GoPro, Ricoh Theta, Kodak PixPro) to the high end (Nokia, NextVR, Headcase). Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: VR Experts Talk Cameras, Workflow, Markets

Amazon, Microsoft Lead Boom in Cloud Services for Enterprise

As big companies such as General Electric and Netflix close down their data centers and move operations to the cloud, Amazon and Microsoft are enjoying rising revenues in their cloud operations — and increasing competition between each other. In the process, they’re also gaining dominance over rivals including Google and IBM. Recently, GE has reported whittling down its reliance on data centers from 34 to four. Netflix closed its last data center at the end of last summer. Continue reading Amazon, Microsoft Lead Boom in Cloud Services for Enterprise

Immersive Journalists Talk Real-Time and Long-Form VR News

Award-winning filmmakers and video reporters Nonny de la Peña, Sandy Smolan and Ben Solomon, along with ABC News Digital executive Dan Silver, took part in a wide-ranging discussion about immersive journalism at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival this past week. Among the ideas expressed were the importance of choosing the right stories for the virtual reality medium, of telling them with filmic finesse to maintain audience interest, and of designing the role of the on-screen reporter. Noted as on the near horizon for immersive reportage were real-time streaming, interactivity, and live action capture with the aid of videogrammetry. Continue reading Immersive Journalists Talk Real-Time and Long-Form VR News

Nokia’s Revival with Alcatel-Lucent Takeover, OZO VR Camera

On November 30, Nokia introduced its OZO virtual reality camera in Los Angeles. The camera, aimed at professional content creators, features eight 2K-by-2K-resolution cameras, with lenses capable of a 195-degree field of view and spaced at the same distance as between human eyes, as well as eight microphones for 3D audio capture. Weighing 10 pounds and expected to cost $50,000, the OZO is capable of full 360-degree stereoscopic video in real time and its output is compatible with existing VR headsets

Continue reading Nokia’s Revival with Alcatel-Lucent Takeover, OZO VR Camera

Nokia Initiates Share-Exchange Offer in Alcatel-Lucent Merger

Initiating its planned merger with Alcatel-Lucent, first announced in April, Nokia began its share-exchange offer with that company’s shareholders in Paris and London. Nokia is paying €15.6 billion ($16.6 billion) for Alcatel-Lucent, with the idea that combining the two companies’ expertise in telecom and Internet gear will help it better compete in a global economy. Nokia not only faces competition from new players such as China’s Huawei Technologies but from Ericsson, which just struck an alliance with Cisco. Continue reading Nokia Initiates Share-Exchange Offer in Alcatel-Lucent Merger

New Ericsson, Cisco Alliance to Impact Internet of Things, 5G

Ericsson and Cisco Systems, leaders in mobile and Internet equipment respectively, are forming an alliance to beat back the competition, enjoy synergies in the mobile market and target the growing fields of Internet of Things and 5G. The alliance isn’t a merger, but in many ways acts like one: Ericsson and Cisco plan to integrate their existing equipment, combine some sales and consulting areas and perhaps develop new hardware and services. Competitors include Chinese company Huawei and Nokia, which just bought Alcatel-Lucent. Continue reading New Ericsson, Cisco Alliance to Impact Internet of Things, 5G

Digital Hollywood: VR for Live Events in Music, News, Sports

Virtual reality for live events is a reality, not just for music, news and sports but red carpet events, revealed Variety editor David S. Cohen, who hosted one covering the debut of “Guardians of the Galaxy” recently. He noted the difference between the three genres under consideration. “Sports are a live play. News is perishable but doesn’t always have to be live. Music is more evergreen.” At Digital Hollywood, experts shared the most exciting opportunities and most concerning pitfalls of VR content. Continue reading Digital Hollywood: VR for Live Events in Music, News, Sports

Nokia Sells Mapping Unit to German Carmakers for $3 Billion

Nokia has sold its Here digital mapping unit, a global competitor to Google Maps, to German automakers Audi, BMW Group and Daimler for $3 billion. Since the sale of its mobile phone unit to Microsoft for $7.6 billion last year, Nokia has been putting efforts into its telecom network infrastructure business, which supplies carriers like AT&T and China Mobile with communication equipment. The three German auto companies will use the mapping tech for autonomous driving plans, which they will license to other companies. Continue reading Nokia Sells Mapping Unit to German Carmakers for $3 Billion

Nokia Introduces 360-Degree VR Camera for Pro Filmmakers

Nokia Technologies launched a 360-degree 3D VR camera targeted at professional content creators, and, in the process, rebranded itself. The company sold its mobile phone business to Microsoft in 2013. The new VR camera, dubbed OZO, which was unveiled in Hollywood and is slated for a Fall 2015 release, features eight lenses, each of which captures 2Kx2K resolution, and eight microphones to capture and create spatial audio. Nokia also plans to enable live broadcasting to VR headsets. Continue reading Nokia Introduces 360-Degree VR Camera for Pro Filmmakers

Apple Takes a Dramatic Lead in Smartphone Industry’s Profits

Despite selling less than 20 percent of smartphones in terms of unit sales, Apple recorded 92 percent of the total operating income of smartphone sales for Q1, up from 65 percent last year. Apple and Samsung lead the industry while other phone makers broke even or lost money, according to Canaccord Genuity research. Apple has recorded such a significant lead because of higher prices per unit. This has forced rival brands, that mostly run on the Android operating system, to compete by cutting prices. Continue reading Apple Takes a Dramatic Lead in Smartphone Industry’s Profits

Microsoft CEO Announces Departures, Corporate Restructuring

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that a series of executive changes would take place at the company, including the departures of former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, and senior level execs Kiril Tatarinov, Eric Rudder and Mark Penn. Meanwhile, Windows head Terry Myerson will take on added responsibility. As part of the company’s shift from devices and services to productivity and cloud computing, Nadella has appointed a team to oversee the restructuring of Microsoft’s three engineering groups — Windows and Devices, Cloud and Enterprise, and Applications and Services. Continue reading Microsoft CEO Announces Departures, Corporate Restructuring

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